It was a bright and sunny day yesterday. The students surrounded the field with glee as we watched the girls' soccer team compete in the finals of the sports day competition. There was cheering from both schools as they watched the girls race up and down the field. Nearing the end of the second half, our girls were holding their 1-0 lead. Then, suddenly the other team scored. Their students erupted into a loud burst of cheering. They stormed the field in excitement and ruckus. As our students looked on in angst, the other students began throwing rocks towards our students. I watched in slow motion as a big stone hit the head of one of my students.
She immediately fell to the ground. I quickly ran over to her. Blood was pooling all around her. She was wailing and screaming and crying. I've never heard crying as loud, as intense, as painful. I searched around for someone to help her. No one offered any help to her. Students and adults surrounded her as she lay in her own blood. I called to my students, "Go find so and so! Where's this person or that person?"
No one was there to help this girl. I quickly reached down and lifted her up, her blood covering my hands and clothes. I tried to console her. I said, "M, look at me. Take a deep breath. You're okay. You're okay. You're going to be okay." But she wasn't okay, blood gushed from her head. As tears were forming in my eyes, I fought to maintain my composure. I had to help this girl. I walked her into the shade as hundreds of onlookers offered no help. I pulled tissue out of my bag to try stop the bleeding. I cleaned her up as best as I could. Then, out of no where, it began to rain. Hard rain. I walked her slowly to shelter, getting drenched by the downpour. Then, just as suddenly as the rain came, it stopped 3 minutes later, just long enough to clean all the blood from the two of us. Finally, I found our student care coordinator, and she took M to the hospital. I choked back tears as I explained to her what happened and asked her where she was, bemoaning that no one was there to help M. To help me.
When I got home, I fell into a ball of tears. Lamenting and crying that no one was there to help this sweet little girl. She was all alone lying in her own tears, her own blood. No one was there for her. Then, in a small, quiet voice I heard, "but you were there. That's why I sent you"
It's no coincidence that M was on my dance team, and we practiced every day in the fall leading up to the to anniversary ceremony. It was no coincidence that M spent afternoons at my house playing and hanging out. It was no coincidence that I chose her to be on the basketball team though she's the smallest one, and we've spent three days a week training and playing together and praying together. It was no coincidence that M came to the library every day to work on her book report project with me for the past two weeks. It was because of those moments that when I looked M in the eyes and said you're going to be okay, she believed me. She trusted me. She knew I had been there for her then, and that I was for her in that moment too.
"That's why I sent you." Echoes in my heart as I reflect on my time here. The happy moments frolicking by the lake and the anguishing moments of tears. I am here. And I'm grateful.